(CMR) The Easter holiday is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, especially camping by the sea. As many get ready to participate in this Caymanian long-stand tradition, the Department of Environmental Health (DEH) reminds campers of the following food safety and garbage disposal tips when camping:
Food safety first
The DEH urges campers to take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting food-borne illnesses.
Clean- Wash hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before and after handling raw foods or use an antibacterial liquid where possible. Clean utensils, plates, and trays after each use.
Separate- Pack raw meat, poultry, and seafood in separate coolers from food that is already cooked or ready-to-eat, such as dairy items, fruits, pastry, and beverages, to avoid cross-contamination during storage.
Cook- By cooking your food to a safe internal temperature, you can destroy any harmful bacteria. Precook and chill meat at home when possible and reheat on-site to 74°C or 165°F. Always pack a food thermometer.
Chill- Refrigerate or freeze food, if possible, the day before you pack it. Carry extra ice or ice packs to maintain cold temperatures in refrigerated foods.
Plan ahead to avoid leftovers and organize your meals considering the portion sizes. You can also reduce your ingredients and packing list by planning your menus with common ingredients.
Keep it clean!
During this Easter, the DEH is partnering with the Recreation, Parks, and Cemetery section of the Public Works Department (PWD), responsible for parks and cemetery clean-ups, to contribute to a greener and litter-free environment.
Additional garbage containers will be placed in some of the most popular camping sites during Easter weekend. These additional 20-yard garbage containers will be located at Barkers National Park in West Bay, Pease Bay in Bodden Town, and Starfish Point in Northside.
However, keeping the environment clean is everyone’s responsibility. Here are some tips for campers to properly dispose of their waste while protecting the environment:
-Dispose of all trash (diapers included) properly in the proper bins if available. If bins are not available at the campground, all trash should be removed and disposed of at home.
-Return the campsite to its original condition for the next camper if you disturb it in any way.
-Don't forget your good recycling habits on vacation. They are just as important during camping as they are at home.
Be reminded that improper garbage disposal and littering are liable to penalties under the Litter Law and the Public Health Act, including a fine of up to $500. Campers should, therefore, avoid such practices. All solid waste products should be properly disposed of.
Human waste provides food for disease-transmitting insects/vermin such as flies and rats. Therefore every effort must be made to dispose of all such waste in a sanitary manner. Campers should rent a portable toilet or camp at locations with bathroom facilities. Improper disposal of human waste is also an offense under the Public Health Act 2002 revision, part III, punishable by fines (up to $1000) and six months imprisonment.
The DEH wishes the community a safe Easter weekend and thanks the public for their ongoing collaboration in protecting the environment.